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  • 2017-07-09
  • NEWS
  • Mosul battle: Iraq prime minister to celebrate victory over IS in the city

  • Iraq prime minister Haider al-Abadi has visited Mosul to congratulate Iraqi forces for their "victory" over Islamic State militants in the city.
    Iraqi forces, backed by US-led air strikes, have been battling to retake Mosul since 17 October last year.
    Islamic State militants seized it in June 2014 before proclaiming a "caliphate" straddling Iraq and Syria.
    Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, Sunni Arab tribesmen and Shia militiamen have also been involved in the gruelling battle.
    The Iraqi prime minister arrived to "congratulate the armed forces and the Iraqi people" on the final defeat of IS in Mosul on Sunday, the statement said.

    There were celebrations in the streets during Mr Abadi's visit but he has not yet given a speech formally declaring triumph.
    His office says victory will be formally declared after Iraqi forces clear out the remaining pockets of jihadists desperately holding out in a tiny area near the Old City.

    The fall of Mosul does not mean the end of IS in the country. It still has territory elsewhere - such as Tal Afar and three towns in the western province of Anbar - and is able to carry out bombings in government-held areas.
    Troops helped a steady stream of fleeing civilians - mostly women and children - to safety. Their faces were haunted and some had to be helped.

    Almost every building in the old city has been scarred or completely destroyed.
    Some 900,000 people have been displaced from the city since 2014 - about half the pre-war population - aid organisations say.
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  • source : BBC
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